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Chimney swifts: Wolseley’s cutest residents

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Frank Machovec doesn’t live in Wolseley, but he works with some pretty interesting characters who do.

From May to August, some of Wolseley’s arguably cutest and smallest citizens take up residence in the area’s chimneys.

Machovec heads the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative, which monitors the lives and activities of the tiny, cigar-shaped birds who build their nests in the comforting surroundings of chimneys that remain dormant during the summer months.

The birds build communal nests in chimneys, often constructing up to 50 nests in one setting. The nests themselves are tiny — about the size of the palm of your hand.

Machovec says you usually hear the birds before you see them due to the "weird, chittering" noise they make.

So far, the birds have been spotted near the old Grace Hospital site on Evanson Street and the FoodFare at Maryland Street and Westminster Avenue.

Machovec is convinced Wolseley is the perfect environment for the creatures, given the age and style of most of its structures, and that tons of chimney swifts likely haunt the area.

The Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative is always on the look-out for more volunteers to help keep track of these little birds.

To learn more about the initiative or to become involved with volunteering, visit their website at naturemanitoba.ca/CHSW.html

Laina Hughes is a community correspondent for Wolseley. She launched her book Wolseley Stories last month.

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